Saturday night we went to a birthday get-together for a family of three who all have April birthdays. There was melt-in-your-mouth lamb on a spit, mountains of roast vegies, salads, breads, dips and an array of desserts that were divine. Bernie had set up a gazebo outside to keep off the worst of the driving rain and wind. He had to use bamboo poles to prop up the middle so that water wouldn’t pool and make it collapse. It worked well as long as we remembered to periodically lift the edges and empty the small amounts of water that were still gathering before they dropped unexpectedly on anyone unlucky enough to be standing in the wrong spot.
The stormy weather didn’t matter for us to have a good time. There were unexpected connections with shared friends and plenty of laughter and animated conversations. Most people had known each other for decades and there was a sense of poignancy in how full our lives have been in that time; n acknowledgement of those no longer with us and an appreciation for those still present.
We gave a lift home to one of our daughter’s friends. She’s been away for six months studying and travelling in Europe and will return to uni studies mid-year. She chatted about how growing older changes your relationships in the family. There is a sense of being grown-up, particularly with younger siblings who reflect ages and stages that you remember clearly for yourself. That curious age of being independent and yet wanting to still be cared for. We arrived home thankful once again that our children are surrounded by friends who feel comfortable and enjoy spending time with us too.
Sunday’s rain gave us the luxury of lazing about, reading books and getting a few little jobs done. After checking on our new clutch of chicks, I got to act as ballast on the blades from the ride-on mower while Phil used the angle grinder. The combination of steady sunshine and just enough rain meant the lawns had to be mowed twice a week up until a couple of weeks ago. It was while we were having fun (seriously) scraping the dried-on grass clippings from the hood that I realised how fortunate we are to still enjoy doing simple chores together. Any opportunity to chat, share a laugh or simply enjoy each other’s company is something to celebrate after 26 years together.